Coronavirus: ‘One of the really distressing new things is the hospitality homeless’

The Staff Canteen

An article published in The Guardian yesterday has revealed a disturbing surge in rough sleepers in central London from the hospitality sector.

Due to the impact of Coronavirus on the hospitality industry, newly unemployed restaurant and pub workers are forced to sleep on the streets because they can no longer afford to pay rent.

Brian Whiting, a volunteer with the organisation Under One Sky, which started nightly food deliveries at the end of March, told The Guardian ‘he was disturbed by the number of newly homeless ex-hotel and restaurant staff’.

He said: “One of the really distressing new things is the hospitality homeless. We’re seeing so many people who were working in kitchens, hotels and pubs until a few weeks ago. They’re so obviously ill-equipped to be out there. The long-term rough sleepers know how it works, but for them it’s very new. They look shell-shocked.”

So far 90% of those who were sleeping rough have been housed nationally according to the government. Hotel rooms have been paid for in a move aimed to stop the spread of Covid-19, ‘with 5,400 housed including 1,800 in 10 hotels across London’.

Money is being raised for workers in need of help, the Hospitality Action Covid-19 Emergency Appeal has so far raised over £400,000 but the demand for support means donations can't come in quick enough. 

According to The Guardian in the capital, hundreds of tents and cardboard box encampments remain and conditions are getting much harsher for those still – or newly – on the streets.

More needs to be done ‘for people made homeless after being sacked’ says Jason Moyer-Lee, the general secretary of the Independent Workers of Great Britain Union, which represents agency staff.

Telling The Guardian: “Low-paid service sector jobs, with zero-hour contracts and agency workers, were extremely precarious before this situation, and the fact that, despite the government schemes, some people are being driven into homelessness demonstrates the inadequacy of these schemes. This needs to be sorted now.”

Read the full article in The Guardian here

Photo Credit: Centrepoint

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th April 2020

Coronavirus: ‘One of the really distressing new things is the hospitality homeless’